My good friend Stephanie and her husband Fabio are two of the neatest folks I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the past 8 months. They are extremely kind, talented, helpful, generous, sincere, inspirational, thoughtful, hospitable and lots of FUN!
Just before I returned to Catania in October, Fabio did a cooking class for Bethany and her friend Erika who was visiting from the States. He taught them how to make his famous “Pasta al Forno.” A few weeks later, Bethany and I made a HUGE batch for Bethany’s birthday party. If you are looking for a great recipe to take to a potluck or need to feed a big crowd, here is Fabio’s recipe for Pasta al Forno that is sure to give you rave reviews!
PASTA AL FORNO (AL FABIO COCO)
1200g pasta barilla “sedani regati” (rigatoni noodles)
1400g tomato sauce (“passata” mutti)
500g besciamella sauce
Carrots, diced extra small
Green onions: take off root and outer skin, thinly slice 7 or 8 only the white up until you start to see the green, celery-colored part
700g Ground pork and beef mixed together
300g Provolone cheese. Fabio recommends: Galbanone
350g Prosciutto cotto
80g Parmigiana cheese
Buffalo mozzarella (optional, for the very top layer)
Salt, pepper, and oil
Use lasagna pan (9×13 or bigger) Makes 8-10 servings.
To Make the Meat Sauce:
Sauté onion first, followed by the meat. On high heat until green onion wilt. Add salt and pepper pinch by pinch. Turn fire down when green onion wilt and meat is sweating. Break meat into small pieces.
Shake tomato sauce first then pour into meat. Add a little water to jar to get rest of sauce out.
Add peas and carrots and more black pepper (to taste).
Cook in a non-stick pot and let simmer on low heat for 2 hours.
Cooking the Pasta:
Boil water for pasta about 30 min before sauce is done. Sauce will need to cook for at least 2 hours (when Bethany and I made this for her birthday party, she made the sauce in her crock pot the night before and had it on the lowest setting overnight and it came out great!).
Cook 1200g of pasta. Use a very big pot and thoroughly combine the pasta and meat sauce.
Stir in 250g of the besciamelia.
Putting It All Together:
Layer the elements as you would lasagna in the following order: pasta and meat sauce, followed by a thin layer of prosciutto, then the provolone and parmigiana. Pour some of the white béchamel sauce on top of the layer of parmigiana and then repeat the layers twice more starting with the pasta and meat sauce. The top layer will be the white sauce (though you can put a little more parmigiana on the very top if you feel so inclined).
Cook at about 375-400℉ (or # 6 on European ovens) until brown at top.